Analyst: Reports that Verizon Snubbed Palm "Off Base"
Analysts who follow Palm (PALM) are already rolling their eyes over TheStreet.com’s claim that Verizon (VZ) has balked at adding the company’s new Pre handset to its lineup. In a research note this morning, Deutsche Bank’s Jonathan Goldberg dismissed it as “off base.”
“We believe the press reports late Thursday afternoon that Verizon would not launch the Palm Pre are incorrect,” Goldberg wrote. “Our checks continue to point to healthy carrier demand for the Pre early in calendar 2010. We believe Palm has placed orders with the supply chain for another version of the Pre with features highly consistent with a Verizon launch.”
Over at Morgan Keegan & Co, Tavis McCourt was equally dubious. “Palm reiterated its FY2010 guidance, which we believe REQUIRES a launch at Verizon (you just can’t get there with just Sprint and AT&T),” he wrote. “Verizon has carried just about every Palm product in its history, and the Pre is clearly the best. We do not have insight as to the marketing support Palm will get from Verizon, but we see little risk in not getting a placement at this carrier. The timing of the rumor post-deal makes it equally as dubious as the timing of the ‘Nokia will buy Palm’ rumor during the roadshow.”
McCourt, it’s worth noting, believes the Pre will come to Verizon Wireless early next year. “Feb. holds the potential to be a strong Pre quarter as shipments to Sprint likely stabilize and distribution expands to Verizon Wireless (our assumption),” he explains. “Palm’s success at Sprint has typically been a good barometer for shipment trends at VZW and, with a postpaid sub base that’s roughly 3x as large as Sprint’s CDMA business, the market opportunity at VZW is much larger. However, Pre trends at Sprint were aided by the device’s near term exclusivity and a large base of existing Palm users upgrading their devices, both factors that VZW lacks.”
UPDATE: Jim Gerace, executive director of media relations at Verizon, tells E-Commerce Times that the company will offer the smartphone in January as planned.
UPDATED: Sources are telling Boy Genius that TheStreet.com’s report is bogus as well.